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These Are The People Funding UKIP's Election Campaign

Nigel Farage's party is surging ahead in the polls thanks to a more professional campaign. The money to help them is coming from the City and property developers.

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Nigel Farage's UKIP is surging ahead in the polls for the EU election, helped by an increasingly professional campaigning team. But this costs money. And the people with money tend to work in the City or property business.

Figures released on Thursday morning by the Electoral Commission show that the total sum of donations received by the Eurosceptic party hit £493,000 in the first three months of 2014, a up from £270,000 received in the final three months of 2013.

These were UKIP's biggest donors between January and March, along with the amount they donated. They are the ones digging deep to fund the party's surge.

Stuart Wheeler, spread betting tycoon, donated £185,000 to UKIP.

Neil Hall / Reuters

Wheeler is an Old Etonian who helped launch pioneering spread betting firm IG Index in the 1970s, enabling traders to bet on shifts in the financial markets. The company's success made him a very rich man, much of which he spent doing up a sprawling castle in Kent.

Never short of an opinion, he donated £5 million to the Conservatives in 2001 seemingly because he had little else to do. He then spent most of the 2000s complaining about the UK's lily-livered attitude to the EU at various fringe events.

Eventually he tired of David Cameron's conciliatory attitude to Europe and began donating money to UKIP in 2009, later joining the party in the official role of treasurer. His £185,000 donation was made in the form of two payments of £150,000 and £35,000.

Last year Wheeler briefly returned to the public eye after claiming woman are "nowhere near as good as men" at games like chess, bridge and poker.

Upmarket London property developer Mura Estates donated £65,000 to UKIP.

Mura Estates

Property developer Mura specialises in building upmarket flats in London's rapidly gentrifying areas such as Bow, Islington, Bloomsbury, Fulham, Hoxton, Shoreditch and Clerkenwell.

Current projects include substantial development at Deptford Bridge and Curtain Road, Shoreditch.

According to recent accounts it made a pre-tax profit of £1.25 million in the 2011-12 financial year and in the first three months of 2014 it gave two donations of £50,000 and £15,000 to UKIP.

Mura has a close business relationship with Aitch group, who were founded by native East Ender Henry Smith in 1995. Mura's donation was registered as coming from the same Leytonstone address as the Aitch group headquarters.

Growth Financial Services Limited, connected to hedge fund boss Christopher Mills, donated £50,000 to UKIP.

Google Street View

Growth Financial Services is based in this Mayfair town house next to Green Park tube station, which it shares with sister company Harwood Capital Management Limited, a hedge fund.

The company gave £50,000 to UKIP but records show it has only has four directors. All of them share the same surname: Christopher Mills, 61, Lynne Mills, 55, plus Nicholas Mills and Harry Mills, both in their 20s. All four of them have previously lived together at the same address.

Christopher Mills, who is managing partner of Harwood Capital Management, is personally worth £200 million, according to the 2013 Sunday Times rich list.

He is famed in the City for co-founding the legendary hedge fund JO Hambro Capital Management in 1993. In addition to salary and other benefits accumulated during his career he personally banked around £61 million when he sold his stake in the business in 2011.

Robin Birley, club owner and Zac Goldsmith's half-brother, gave £50,000 to UKIP.

Peter Jordan/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Birley is the half-brother of Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond. He ran Annabel’s, his family's Gloucester Square members-only club which is named after his mother, Lady Annabel Goldsmith

He is also a former candidate the anti-EU Referendum Party, which was set up by his father Sir James Goldsmith. His £50,000 donation to UKIP was made in two separate payments of £25,000 each.

A former Conservative party donor, Birley now runs the carbon credit trading firm Envirotrade and was a personal friend of the late Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, attempting to restore the ex-leader's reputation during the late 1990s.

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